Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Weiners Gone Wild;" "Serve It Cold;" "The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook;" "A Month of Sundaes" - 4th of July hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans and ice cream toppings

Date I made these recipes:  July 5, 2015 for a belated Fourth of July!

Wieners Gone Wild by Holly Schmidt
Published by: Running Press
ISBN: 978-0-7624-4727-5
Recipe:  Sloppy Dog (hot dog + Sloppy Joe) – p. 49-50

Serve It Cold by June Crosby & Ruth Conrad Bateman
Published by:  Gramercy Publishing Company
© 1968, 1969
Purchased at: Eat My Words used bookstore, Northeast Minneapolis
Recipe:  French Potato Salad – p. 108

The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook by Mary Donovan; Amy Hatrak; Frances Mills; Elizabeth Shull
Published by: Praeger Publishers
© 1975
Purchased at Bloomington Crime Prevention Association (BCPA) annual book sale, 2014
Recipe:  Boston Baked Beans – p. 30

A Month of Sundaes by Michael Turback
Published by: Red Rock Press
ISBN: 0-9669573-8-5
Purchased at Bonnie Slotnick's Cookbooks, NYC
Recipes:  Classic Chocolate Syrup – p. 43; Classic Caramel Syrup – p. 54; Fluffy Marshmallow Sauce – p. 54, served over (store-bought) vanilla ice cream

Well, as always, the 4th of July came and went and such is life.  Still, we kept the party going on Sunday, July 5th, by having my husband's aunt, a cousin and his mom over for dinner.  I had already planned to make this menu for just the two of us but having more people added to the fun and cut down on the leftovers.  A great time was had by all.

In my book, and maybe yours as well, the 4th of July is not the 4th of July without a hot dog.  I changed this up a bit this year by making a Sloppy Dog, basically a hot dog topped with Sloppy Joe mix.  Well that works, doesn't it?  This cookbook has a lot of very creative recipes although I am not sure how well the "Lasagna Dog" recipe on p. 146 would work.  Seems rather messy.  Other dogs though, seemed kind of fun like a "Quesadilla Dog" – p. 131 or the "Rasta Dog" – p. 139 or a "Soul Dog" on p. 93.  I hated to choose just one but given that I love, love, love Sloppy Joe's, that one won the day.

The 4th of July is not the 4th of July without some potato salad but since Andy does not really care for potato salad (it's all about the mayo), I had to work a bit to find a substitute that he would like and thus Serve It Cold saved the day.  Now I have to tell you that the gelatin-covered fish dish on the front cover almost dissuaded me from using this book because I consider that to be "rude food," but luckily there's a wide range of options, from things like "Spinach Mushroom Salad" – p. 102 or an "Antipasto Salad" on p. 103, not to mention entrees, sandwiches and desserts that are all served cold but my mind was set on "potato."  And really, since France gifted us Lady Liberty, it would be very rude not to invite them to the table, oui?

As to The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook, my baked bean selection was a no-brainer because hot dogs, potato salad and baked beans are almost a national requirement on our big holiday.  In fact, I should check the fine print of Declaration of Independence because I'm sure it's in there, way down at the bottom.  Way down.  "Get a magnifier" down.

Recipes in this book are divided by northern colonies; middle colonies and southern colonies.  Let me see if I can refresh your memory:  Northern Colonies – New Hampshire (often overlooked, am I right?); Massachusetts; Rhode Island and Connecticut.  Middle Colonies – New York; New Jersey; Pennsylvania and Delaware.  Southern Colonies – Maryland; Virginia; North Carolina; South Carolina and Georgia.  So there you go and give yourself an A+ if you remembered them without me telling you (because I sure didn't and I minored in history in college!).

Finally, no 4th of July repast is complete without ice cream, preferably hand-cranked but since I don't have an ice cream maker, and most assuredly not an old-fashioned crank one, I decided to make sauces and just buy the ice cream.  That said, Andy and I laughed at how many ice cream options there are and why is this anyway when all we wanted was vanilla?  (Yes, but what kind of vanilla?????)

This book is very fun because it has all kinds of recipes for sundaes and other sweet ice cream confections but I wanted to keep things rather generic in case somebody didn't like a flavor of ice cream I might serve.  And you might think that three sauces is a lot but they were all very easy to make.  Well almost:  I burnt the caramel the first time around (do not look away while making this, do not!) and started over.  I put Andy in charge of the marshmallow cream and then I finished up with the chocolate sauce.  Again, a big hit with this tough crowd! 

And that concludes our 4th of July meal and it was fabulous.  Even better?  Andy's Aunt Betty is 86 years old and was in town, along with 10,000 other athletes to participate in the National Senior Games, held in various venues around the Twin Cities.  Betty has been participating for many years in various events, but for a while now, she's been focusing on archery.  And so Andy and I and Andy's cousin, Sandy, went to watch Betty and her fellow archers in these games and well, color me impressed!  When I was a teenager, my dad let me use his bow and arrow set and I am pretty sure that the first two times "at bat," the bow flew out first, followed by the arrow!  The arm strength needed for this is incredible and here were 134 participants age 50-96 (the oldest man!) shooting arrows like it was no big deal.  Betty won a medal in her age class as did the 96 year-old man who stood alone in his age category.  As one of Betty's friends joked "Sometimes it helps if you're older as there are less competitors!"  Regardless, we are very proud of Betty and learned a lot while watching.  It felt like a very patriotic thing to do the day after the 4th.

Sloppy Dog – serves 8
1 ¼ pounds ground beef
¼ large onion, finely chopped
½ green pepper, seeded and finely chopped, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup ketchup (store bought or use the recipe on page 23)
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste (buy a tube if you can so you don't waste a can)
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (the larger amount makes for a spicy Sloppy Joe, so use the smaller amount if you don't like heat)
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 potato sub rolls or hot dog buns (store bought or use the recipe on page 15)
8 hot dogs
8 ounces Muenster cheese, grated

Ann's Note:  at first I just made a little less than half of the recipe but that was too stingy so I made up another batch.  One must not skimp on Sloppy Joe mix.)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef.  Cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until the meat is universally brown.  Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and set it aside in a bowl.  Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan, add the onions, all but 3 tablespoons of the green pepper, and the garlic.  Saute the vegetables until they are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, mustard powder, tomato paste, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, and ½ cup of water.  Stir to combine and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a second large skillet or grill pan over medium heat.  Butter the insides of the rolls and toast them in the skillet.  Set the rolls aside.  Cook the hot dogs according to your preferred method and place them in the rolls.  Top each hot dog with the Sloppy Joe mixture, some grated Muenster cheese, and some of the remaining 3 tablespoons of green pepper. 

French Potato Salad – makes 4 to 6 servings
"The French trick of pouring a little white wine or stock over warm potatoes before adding the dressing is a good one to know.  Less oil is absorbed by the potatoes, they are lighter, more flavorful.

2 pounds small boiling potatoes
Salt (for the potato water)
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons light consommé
½ cup Sauce Vinaigrette (to follow)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon and chervil, mixed (or 1 teaspoon dried fresh herbs) Ann's Note:  I used dried Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons minced shallots or green onions
1 tablespoon minced parsley
For the vinaigrette
¾ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, crushed with the salt, optional
Pinch dry mustard, optional
3 to 4 tablespoons [white] wine vinegar
¾ cup salad oil or olive oil (or a mixture)
Generous grinding of black pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender.  Drain, peel while warm and slice about ¼ inch thick.  Mix wine and consomm√© and pour over them.  Let stand until liquid is absorbed.  Beat vinaigrette* into mustard until smooth.  Add herbs.  Sprinkle shallots, parsley and dressing over potatoes.  Toss gently until mixed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and chill only until flavors blend.  Serve cool but not icy, in a pretty glass bowl.  Sprinkle with more parsley if you wish.

*Vinaigrette recipe:  You may combine all ingredients and shake vigorously in jar until blended, but we like to beat it with a wire whisk to a soft creamy emulsion.  The flavor seems richer, mellower.  With whisk, beat salt, garlic, if used, and mustard into vinegar, then beat in oil, in small portions, until sauce is smooth and lightly thickened.  Season with pepper.  Use at once or store in bottle and shake vigorously before using.  Ann's Note:  don't forget to beat the vinaigrette into the mustard – see above.

Boston Baked Beans – serves 12 (Ann's Note:  please note how much this full recipe makes!  I made half a batch. Also note that you will need to soak the beans overnight and then bake the mixture for 4-5 hours.  In other words, plan in advance!)
4 cups pea beans (a/k/a navy beans)
1 large onion, studded with cloves
½ pound salt pork (Ann's Note:  if you can't find salt pork, trying using a thick slab of bacon)
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup dark molasses

Soak beans overnight.  Drain.  Cover with water and cook until the skins burst when blown on.  (Ann's Note:  What the hell does that  - "cook until the skins burst when blown on" – mean?  This is not a proper cooking instruction.  So I Googled "cooking navy beans" and found I needed to cook the beans between a half hour and an hour.  So honestly—was that hard?)

Drain and ladle the beans into an earthenware bean pot.  Press the onion into the center of the beans until barely covered.  Cut salt pork 1 inch deep every ½ inch and splay out to cover a larger surface.  Push salt pork slightly below the surface of the beans.

Over pork and beans, pour mixture of ¾ cup (leaving ¼ remaining) brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and molasses.  Pour 1 cup boiling water over the beans; slowly stir with a large spoon.  Add enough boiling water to cover the beans.  Cover the bean pot and bake at 250 for 4 to 5 hours.  Uncover for the last half hour.  Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar to brown and crisp the pork.  Add water as needed during baking.

Classic Chocolate Syrup – makes 1 cup
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup water

Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk, and continue stirring until sauce is fully blended and smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in water until smooth.

Syrup may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.  To reheat, set over a double boiler and stir until smooth.  If re-heating over direct heat, use very low flame, and be careful not to let the sauce bubble or burn.

Classic Caramel Syrup – makes 1 cup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

Combine sugar and water in a heavy medium-size saucepan.  Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.  Stop stirring and boil until the mixture turns a deep caramel color (6-12 minutes).  Watch carefully to make sure mixture doesn't get too dark.  (Ann's Note:  and this can happen in a heartbeat unless you are vigilant.  If you start to "smell" the sugar, yank it off the stove or it will burn.  I ruined the first batch because I was not quick enough on the draw!)

Remove from heat and add cream (Caution:  mixture will bubble up fiercely).  Return pan to high heat and boil, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into a glass measuring cup or other heatproof container.  Allow to cool to desired temperature.

Fluffy Marshmallow Sauce – makes 3 cups
2 large egg whites (Ann's Note:  I keep powdered egg whites on hand for baking because it's easier and cheaper to use than buying fresh eggs that I never use up in time.)
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
16 regular marshmallows
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a mixing bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.  Set aside.  Combine sugar and water in a medium-size saucepan and place over medium heat.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Stop stirring and allow sugar/water mixture to come to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes without stirring.  Reduce heat to low, add marshmallows, and stir until they are completely melted and mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and, using the electric mixture at slow speed, beat hot marshmallow mixture into the egg whites.  Continue beating for 2 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.  Serve warm or cold.

Sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.  To re-heat, microwave on low power for 30 seconds, or until warm.  

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